hold your breath and count to ten


There's no use in crying.

Jade Harley doesn't cry a lot nowadays. It's not like she has anything to cry about, after all. (Well, that's a lie, but not really a lie. There are a lot of things to be sad about! They're just important things that have to happen, and most of them will be over eventually. And crying doesn't solve anything, after all. That's what Grandpa told her, and what all her favorite books taught her too.)

Not crying is even more important now than ever, though, because Jade is not a lonely little girl on an island anymore, who can bury her face in her best friend's fluffy white fur and sob over Grandpa or her friends or how unfair life is. Jade is fifteen, and she is a goddess, with a spaceship, an ark, full of consorts and carapaces and life all dependent on her. She can't stray. She can't make mistakes. And above all, she cannot afford to be selfish.

In a few minutes, she will get up and wipe her eyes one last time, and she will go out and face the hour again. There's cake and fake smiling and salvage awaiting her, and a little broken orb of tar and stone waiting for bodies to be retrieved from the wreckage. She hopes her eyes aren't too red. Nannasprite will probably fuss if she notices.

(She runs salt-wet hands over the fur amidst her hair, and wishes Becquerel was here.)

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